Confused on who should cancel

New host here and I’ve had a lot of reservations and inquiries for my 3 units these past 5 days.

Several booking requests came with questions that made it clear that this would not be a good fit:

  • We want to go to Lenox Mall, how far are you? I respond: We’re really,r eally close to everything that’s Downtown, but really not to Lenox Mall. There are many listings that are much closer
  • Can you accommodate 5 people in your 1 bedroom aprt? No, I’m sorry, but that really wouldn’t work. (Could I push the dining table aside and put an air mattress? Sure. But I don’t want to. Don’t want to overload the place)
  • Can we check in at 8am? No, I’m sorry, but check out for the night before is 10am and then we’ll have to clean. But you’re welcome to book the night before and then you could arrive as early as you want to.

I don’t normally get responses back, but that open request is hanging there and airbnb is nudging me to approve or decline. So, in order to close this out I declined. But I’m also worried that I would get penalized for declining people.

What to do?

You did the right thing. You do not get penalized for declining. We have declined many guests who were not a good fit. We’ve been hosts since 2010 and are super hosts for what that’s worth! You do get penalized for not responding within 24 hours. If it’s an inquiry you don’t need to decline, just answer the inquiry. That will keep your response rate high.

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Thank you so much. That makes me feel better

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You don’t get penalized. Are you sure these are requests? They sound like inquiries, which also start a timer running. If you answered them, fine. Let it go and don’t worry.

These also sound like newbie guests. Check in at 8am??? Code for so they can get a whole day without paying for it, right?!

Your maximum number of guests should be in the listing.

If guests ask a bunch of questions that are already answered, this is a red flag. It means they won’t be bothered to read anything.

I just usually say, that’s answered in the listing. Please read it and make sure my location is a good fit before booking.

But normally I decline someone who won’t read the listing. There will be more to take their place.

I also wonder if you have it priced too cheaply? Because you are attracting some wild requests.

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Kona, yes, I do have them all priced too cheaply, since I didn’t have any reviews yet and felt that I needed to have a few guests under my belt before I could bring the price up.

I also found that people don’t seem to read - at least some of them. I’m in a transitional neighborhood, in an artist community that is fully fenced and gated. But I’ve already had people leave and not check in, because they didn’t like the neighborhood, even thought it’s very clearly explained in the listing.

Put your prices up so you are competitive with comparable local properties. You get a boost when you first list so likely will get those bookings anyway.